A Ranger’s Trail

Written by Darlene Franklin
Review by B. J. Sedlock

This Christian novel is set during the 1870s Mason County “Hoodoo” War in Texas, between German and Anglo settlers. Leta Denning’s husband is lynched by a German-American mob, which took exception to the court’s dismissal of his cattle rustling charge. Texas Ranger Buck Morgan is sent to investigate the incident and feels sorry for the widow trying to hold a ranch together on her own. But soon he begins to suspect Leta’s brother Andy may have been part of a retaliatory gang who struck back at German settlers, killing Buck’s cousin. How can Buck perform his duty as an impartial lawman when he’s personally involved in both sides of the conflict?

Franklin includes some solid history: reader’s notes on the background of the war, maps of Texas, and chapters headed by quotations from historical sources. The main problem I had with this novel was trying to keep straight which minor character was on which side of the conflict. Plus, there wasn’t much chemistry between Leta and Buck. While I appreciated learning something about a chapter in U.S. history I was ignorant of, the plot and characters weren’t very compelling.